Article Article
Identification of Water Pipe Material Based on Stress Wave Propagation: Numerical Investigations

Water utilities have been struggling to replace their aging infrastructure and have increasingly faced crisis related to the presence of lead pipelines that can affect the health of many communities across the United States. Replacement of lead pipelines is a daunting task because often their location is unknown and technologies to discover such hazardous water lines are unreliable. Driven by these needs, the researchers have explored nondestructive evaluation (NDE) strategies based on ultrasonic stress waves as a tool to discover lead pipelines. While such approaches present great potential, the complexity of wave propagation must be understood to develop an effective NDE strategy. This paper discusses the theoretical foundation and complexities of this approach by showing how stress wave propagation is quite different in pipelines of different materials such as lead, steel, copper, and PVC, which are the common materials used to provide drinking water to households. In particular, different stress wave speeds allow for the identification of different pipeline materials. The simulations presented in this study suggest how ultrasonic stress waves could be deployed in the coming years to help discover and replace lead pipelines.



Alleyne, D.N., and P. Cawley, 1992, “The Interaction of Lamb Waves with Defects,” IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, Vol. 39, No. 3, pp. 381–397,

Atherton, D.L., 1995, “Remote Field Eddy Current Inspection,” IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, Vol. 31, No. 6, pp. 4142–4147,

Bartoli, I., F. Lanza di Scalea, M. Fateh, and E. Viola, 2005, “Modeling Guided Wave Propagation with Application to the Long-Range Defect Detection in Railroad Tracks,” NDT & E International, Vol. 38, No. 5, pp. 325–334,

Bartoli, I., A. Marzani, F. Lanza di Scalea, and E. Viola, 2006, “Modeling Wave Propagation in Damped Waveguides of Arbitrary Cross-Section,” Journal of Sound and Vibration, Vol. 295, Nos. 3–5, pp. 685–707,

Cornwell, D.A., R.A. Brown, and S.H. Via, 2016, “National Survey of Lead Service Line Occurrence,” Journal – American Water Works Association, Vol. 108,

Costello, S.B., D.N. Chapman, C.D.F. Rogers, and N. Metje, 2007, “Underground Asset Location and Condition Assessment Technologies,” Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, Vol. 22, Nos. 5–6, pp. 524–542,

Dassault Syst mes, 2013, ABAQUS/CAE User’s Guide, Version 6.13, Providence, RI available at /default.htm

Hao, T., C.D.F. Rogers, N. Metje, D.N. Chapman, J.M. Muggleton, K.Y. Foo, P. Wang, S.R. Pennock, P.R. Atkins, S.G. Swingler, J. Parker, S.B. Costello, M.P.N. Burrow, J.H. Anspach, R.J. Armitage, A.G. Cohn, K. Goddard, P.L. Lewin, G. Orlando, M.A. Redfern, A.C.D. Royal, and A.J. Saul, 2012, “Condition Assessment of the Buried Utility Service Infrastructure,” Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, Vol. 28, pp. 331–344,

Hayakawa, H., and A. Kawanaka, 1998, “Radar Imaging of Underground Pipes by Automated Estimation of Velocity Distribution Versus Depth,” Journal of Applied Geophysics, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 37–48,

Hayashi, T., W.-J. Song, and J.L. Rose, 2003, “Guided Wave Dispersion Curves for a Bar with an Arbitrary Cross-Section, a Rod and Rail Example,” Ultrasonics, Vol. 41, No. 3, pp. 175–183, /S0041-624X(03)00097-0

Hunter, S.C., 1957, “Energy Absorbed by Elastic Waves during Impact,” Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 162–171,

Kuhlemeyer, R.L., and J. Lysmer, 1973, “Finite Element Method Accuracy for Wave Propagation Problems,” Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, Vol. 99, No. 5, /JSFEAQ.0001885

Lowe, M.J.S., D.N. Alleyne, and P. Cawley, 1998, “Defect Detection in Pipes using Guided Waves,” Ultrasonics, Vol. 36, Nos. 1–5, pp. 147–154,

Lysmer, J., and R.L. Kuhlemeyer, 1969, “Finite Dynamic Model for Infinite Media,” Journal of the Engineering Mechanics Division, Vol. 95, No. 4,

McLaskey, G.C., and S.D. Glaser, 2010, “Hertzian Impact: Experimental Study of the Force Pulse and Resulting Stress Waves,” The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 128, No. 3, pp. 1087–1096,

Moser, F., L.J. Jacobs, and J. Qu, 1999, “Modeling Elastic Wave Propagation in Waveguides with the Finite Element Method,” NDT & E International, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 225–234, /S0963-8695(98)00045-0

Nelson, C.V., 2004, “Metal Detection and Classification Technologies,” Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 62–67

Ni, S.-H., Y.-H. Huang, K.-F. Lo, and D.-C. Lin, 2010, “Buried Pipe Detection by Ground Penetrating Radar Using the Discrete Wavelet Transform,” Computers and Geotechnics, Vol. 37, No. 4, pp. 440–448, /10.1016/j.compgeo.2010.01.003

Pavlakovic, B., M. Lowe, D. Alleyne, and P. Cawley, 1997, “Disperse: A General Purpose Program for Creating Dispersion Curves,” Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation, Vol. 16, pp. 185–192,

Ristic, A.V., D. Petrovacki, and M. Govedarica, 2009, “A New Method to Simultaneously Estimate the Radius of a Cylindrical Object and the Wave Propagation Velocity from GPR Data,” Computers & Geosciences, Vol. 35, No. 8, pp. 1620–1630,

Rose, J.L., 2014, Ultrasonic Guided Waves in Solid Media, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, /CBO9781107273610

Zerwer, A., G. Cascante, and J. Hutchinson, 2002, “Parameter Estimation in Finite Element Simulations for Rayleigh Waves,” Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol. 128, No. 3, /10.1061/(ASCE)1090-0241(2002)128:3(250)

Usage Shares
Total Views
76 Page Views
Total Shares
0 Tweets
0 PDF Downloads
0 Facebook Shares
Total Usage